A Complaint: How shall I count the ways?

What is this doubtful faith, love? An excuse for unhealthy expectations, an unquiet need to be quietly needed, the demand of suppressed timidities, a hangover from unaccustomed caring, the glow of unselfish indulgence and egotistical devotion? Is it a vestigial coupling instinct, a diversion of sexual magnetism, a sublimation of reason? Is it a popular fiction, the product of mass suggestion, a convenience of musicians and poets? A self-induced hypnotic optimism? A shared solipsism? Double solitaire? Is it an opiate of the impoverished? A psychic reminder of our fallibility? Is it a justification for unnatural pride, a rationalization for the failure of independence, subconscious embarrassment, a subversion of perversion, a symptom of pleasure, an echo of lost happiness, a new use for the passion of old griefs? Spontaneous eternity pangs? Delusion of perfection? Existential togetherness? Proximity friction? Anxiety of belonging? Misplaced kinship ties? Is it a longing for gratitude? The tease of obliged risk? The blind leading the blind? The satisfaction in mistaken identity? The confusion of unworthiness? The enjoyment of the pertinacity of mystery? The con of the need to be conned? Is it a sado-masochistic house of mirrors? Is it a psychological game of the absurd, a theater of groundless trust, an accepted heresy against practicality? Is it veiled megalomania impulses? A hyperactive aesthetic phase? The afterimage of daily tensions? A defense against boredom? Admiration insurance? Childhood deprival shock? Parental substitution? An automatic compensation for insecurity? A mock sibling incest drive? The unrecognizable luck of the immature? A normal abeyance of the plague of self-consciousness? An unwitting hex, a charm-given grace? Is it the critical mass of common idiosyncrasies? Polar tenderness, emotional gravitation, the sum of male plus female, yin and yang, a gestalt? Mutual détente? Synchronicity? Harmony? Karma? Manifest destiny? Is it a seasonal induction, a vortex of planetary influence, a backwash of lunar motions? A coincidence of accidental rhythms, of sensual wavelengths, of matching personalities> A rhyme of auras? A counterpoint of two souls vibrating? Is it a virus? A nutritional happenstance, a chemical imbalance? Imagination’s cancer? A mental block? A freak of God’s success? The gush of unconfessed foolishness? A release from cosmic guilt? A loophole in the law of nature? An ideal imperfection? Is it hunger for wonder, physical awe, animal magic, spiritual sex? Is it the secret of organic life? Negative entropy? The beautiful incarnation of Dr. Frankenstein’s obsession? A reason for living? A dance with dementia? The impressions of a seventh sense? A heaven on earth, a fish out of water? Is it the unseeming rightness of two? An unacceptable truth? Is it hereditary or environmental? Is this the Age of Love? Is it a mathematics of improbable poetic metaphors? Is love simply a need for love, for all or none of the above, or is it the emotion of actual response, equal and opposite? I wish I knew, for if I knew then I would tell you how I feel.

17 February 1997